May 26, 2017
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Bishop  Peggy  Johnson   announces  new appointments and retirements,
effective July 1 unless otherwise stated:

Northeast to the new North District
  • Mrs. Robin Roman (certified lay minister) to Zionsville: Salem as of July 1, 2017.
  • The Rev. Susan Wollyung (part-time local pastor) from Ringtown: Aurand Memorial (NW) to Tobyhanna as of July 1, 2017.
  • Rev. Rick A. Conrad (Part-Time Local Pastor) to Reeder's UMC ¾-time.
Northwest to the new North District
  • Rev. H. Joe Tyson, Extension Ministry, (Full-time retired supply) Northwest District Superintendent to ¼-time Assisting Elder on North District,
  • Rev. Steward Warner (Full Elder) from Orwigsburg Salem  to Orwigsburg: Salem and New Ringgold: Zion in a shared Ministry
  • Ralph Saunders (Lay Supply) Landingville: Welcome, adding Drehersville: Salem, to become a two-point circuit.
Northwest  to the new West District
  • Rev. Susan Moore (Full Elder) from Jonestown to Jonestown and Fredericksburg in shared Ministry
  • Tom Robinson (Lay Supply) to  Jonestown and Fredericksburg in shared Ministry (1/4-time)
  • Also, Rev. Kerry Bart transfers from the Eastern PA Conference to the West Virginia Conference, effective July 1, 2017.
Annual Conference 2017 will 'Rise Up' in prayer
We have updated our website's Annual Conference 2017 advance coverage with new details about the plans for inspirational worship and celebration using a series of "Rise Up..." themes related to each event. Learn more... Also visit our Annual Conference 2017 webpage to see the following:
We'll publish summary articles about the resolutions, constitutional amendments and other of plans for Annual Conference on our website next week. These articles will also be in the spring issue of NEWSpirit newspaper, due out next week also.

Annual Conference Registration Update  
May 28 is the final deadline for members to register for Annual Conference at the $210 basic fee. ( Non-voting visitors may register for $70/day.) Registrations received after  May 28 will be considered walk-ins with no guaranteed meals and will incur a $50 late fee. If you mail your registration (with payment), it must be postmarked by   May 28. After then, the $50 late fee will be required. Persons elected as Equalizing Lay Delegates at District Conferences last Sunday must register by the May 28 deadline to avoid the $50 late fee. Online Registration.  
Celebrating 250 Years of Methodism in America 
At Annual Conference in June we will celebrate the "Sestercentennial," or 250th anniversary, of the birth of
Methodism in America when a Methodist Prayer Society formed in Philadelphia in 1767. That society worshiped for two years before building a permanent meetinghouse in 1769. Historic St. George's UMC, is now the oldest church built by Methodists still in continuous use in the United States. Annual Conference will mark the occasion with special commemorative narratives, publications and displays. Conference members wearing colonial-era garb will portray several ancestors of our denomination. Meanwhile, Historic St. George's, which houses a museum and our Conference Archives, is already making plans to celebrate its 250th in 2019. Learn more...

Join Hopewell workers at The Well this weekend    
Hopewell UMC members and friends are working hard to get the church's new community center renovated and ready for Kingdom business. "The Well" is "an urban enterprise initiated by Hopewell UMC in response to a vision to utilize the resources, gifts and skills of our congregation members in partnering with our community to meet the needs of our neighbors."  The gathering place, at 107 West Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, will welcome all ages and house community services like support groups, job training, after-school tutoring and activities.
This is Hopewell's Local Mission Weekend, May 27-29, when they invite skilled and non-skilled adult +workers to come help with painting, wall-paper removal, flooring, cleanup and other "F*U*N stuff!"
If you want to come help, e-mail to Deb Boyd at and let her know when. They'll be there from 8:30 AM to 4:40 PM on Saturday and Monday and noon to 4 PM on Sunday. Lunch will be provided. 
Come celebrate Africa University's 25th
Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Africa University with Mother African Zoar UMC 1204 Melon Street, Philadelphia, on Saturday, June 10, from 11 AM to 1 PM. The birthday party will feature presentations, several short videos, time for questions and answers, refreshments and even a dessert bar. Come celebrate and learn about the exciting, quarter-century adventure of this extraordinary United Methodist-supported university in Africa and also celebrate the supportive role the Eastern PA Conference has played in its development. Please let them know oyu are coming by calling the church office (215-769-3899) or call Betty Henderson (215-226-5268). 
Lancaster area UMs to visit Korean Methodists
A Korea Service & Learning Team will travel to Seoul and Incheon, South Korea, June 18-27. The team, led by First UMC Lancaster youth minister Kate Beiler, totals 18 youth and adults, including laity and clergy from five area churches and the Rev. BK Chung, Southwest District Superintendent. They will represent our conference, their churches and the outstretching "hands and feet of Christ." The pilgrimage with take them to the Naeri and Chungdong Methodist Churches, where the will learn, serve and experience Korean culture and the legacy of Henry Appenzeller, the First UMC Lancaster missionary who helped bring Protestant Christianity to Korea in 1885. First UMC will bless the team before their journey at all three of its services on Sunday, June 11. 
Congo missionaries report 'amazing blessings' 
Enjoy monthly written and video reports from the Rev. Jonathan and Donna Baker, our dedicated Global Ministries Congo Partnership missionaries serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their May newsletter updates us on "God's amazing blessings" happening at the Mpasa Clinic and Nutrition Center, among other projects. "I t's been a fabulous, exciting, often challenging and meaningful experience," they tell us, "as we continue to learn so much about what it means to serve God's children in a materially poverty-stricken country which has only been an independent and peaceful democracy since 2004." Our Southeast and Northeast districts are supporting the development of medical equipment and services in Mpasa as district mission projects. Read the Bakers' May newsletter, plus an enhanced YouTube video version with music and more photos. Also, be sure to view the 6-minute video report they will present to Annual Conference.
United Methodist Now: Inspiration for Daily Living
United Methodist Now   is a biweekly e-newsletter for church members to highlight examples of Christian living, share inspirational messages, and focus on what it means to be part of our connection.  CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE!
Discipleship Ministries says 'See All the People'
What if we stopped "fixing" our churches and started seeing the people Christ calls us to reach? Discipleship Ministries has just launched a grassroots initiative called   SeeAllThePeople , designed to inspire an outreaching disciple-making movement across the denomination. What if United Methodist congregations stopped looking for quick fixes to revitalize their churches," asks the Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary, "and started seeing the people right outside our doors that Christ called us to reach? What if churches recommitted themselves to focus on being in relationship with those around them and created an intentional system to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
"We cannot disciple people that we are not in relationship with. Discipleship begins with relationship." Discipleship Ministries has produced a discussion starter video and a free study booklet for congregations. Dotson urges church members to download, use and share the free resource at and to start a conversation using the hashtag #SeeAllThePeople. 
Free church sacramental furniture available 
When Bustleton UMC in Philadelphia
closed in 2010, a church member rescued the Communion table and Baptismal font, hoping to offer them to a nearby congregation that would be happy to receive them. So far, that search has not been easy. Now Cheryl Kaz wants to spread the word farther across the conference to interest any church in adopting and using these cherished items looking for a new home at no cost. The church that wants them must be able to come get them. E-mail Cheryl at  or call 267-253-0390.  
At our 2017 Annual Conference in June, we will focus on the spiritual discipline and gift of prayer, as we benefit from teaching by the Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of the Upper Room Chapel. What prayer ministries are you and your members engaged in, whether innovative or traditional, indoor or outdoor, involving small groups or the entire congregation?

In some of the church newsletters, bulletins and websites we come across, we see announcements of prayer services and vigils, community prayer walks, prayer chains and prayer shawl groups, healing services, Taize worship, and other experiences. Clearly, we have some strong praying churches in this conference, and many of them no doubt have testimonies of answered prayers.

We are looking for examples of how churches pray and how, like Jesus, they teach disciples to pray. We want to learn and share prayer practices of all types and stories of how those practices impact congregations, individuals and communities.   Learn more...
Summer internship helps students explore call to ministry
The Eastern PA Conference Vocational Internship Program offers exciting opportunities for college students to explore first-hand their call to ministry at participating churches. During 10 summer weeks they will be exposed onsite to different aspects of ministry, while assisting the sponsoring church and earning a $3,000 stipend.

For students with at least one year of college this is a great opportunity to get a close-up view with valuable on-the-ground training in ministry. Congregations and pastors who would welcome a helping hand (and an inquiring mind) during the summer could find themselves preparing a next-generation leader for the church. The church pays the $3,000 stipend, but the conference Board of Ordained Ministry reimburses one-half of it at the completion of the 10-week internship.

"The Vocational Internship Program was for me a key factor in discerning a call to the ordained ministry," says the Rev. Bill Lentz, pastor of Lehman UMC in Hatboro. "Thirty-one years later, I look back on those days when local churches of our annual conference gave me the opportunity to spread my wings by giving me room to explore my gifts and calling for service. I have enjoyed making that same experience available to others looking for room to grow in grace as they explore the call."

If you are interested in having an intern serve at your church, or if you know of a student who could benefit from a vocational internship in ministry, please contact the Rev. Gary Knerr, BoOM co-chairman, at or 610-696-2663. Apply now before the end of May.

Also, if you benefited from this program in the past-either as a Vocational Intern or a sponsoring church-and would recommend it to students and churches, please send us a brief statement revealing what you found helpful about that experience. Write to us at
New Lifetree Cafés being planted in Eastern PA
The Eastern PA Conference will soon celebrate the planting of a fourth Lifetree Café, this one by St. John's UMC Ivyland; and the opening night's video and discussion will focus on a timely topic: "The Church and Gays: One Pastor's Dilemma."  The new Café will have its debut on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:30 PM at the Richboro Pub, 1034 2nd St. Pike #5, Richboro, PA, near Warminster. Church members will welcome guests there every Tuesday night at 7:30 for food, fellowship and faith-based discourse.

Lifetree Café is an innovative, Christian, national program that resources a network of church-run Cafés, preferably located in private areas of restaurants and pubs. That resourcing includes providing materials like the well-produced, weekly discussion video that is shown in all locations. St. John's leaders have been planning this new venture, recruiting volunteers, making arrangements and building congregational support. "We know there are lots of people outside our doors who are unchurched; so some of our people are excited about this effort," said Portzline. She admitted, however, that some older members, concerned about the use of a pub for this outreach venture, have asked, "Are you sure about this?"

"Whether it leads to new members at St. John's doesn't matter," she added. "If we can help people develop a new relationship with Jesus Christ then we will have succeeded." Learn more...
Free Workshop on Church Marketing,  June 14
On the heels of our Building Effective Church Websites workshops, May 5-6, UMCom training specialist  Craig Catlett will return to our Annual Conference,  June 14-17, to address the session body and host a UMCom display in our exhibits area.  (Be sure to drop by and meet him.) 

But even better, he will arrive early and teach a  Workshop on Church Marketing on the eve of our Annual Conference,  WednesdayJune 14, from 6 to 8:30 PM, at the Conference Office. It's open to all. So come join us, bring your church marketing team, and gain some useful wisdom on promoting your church's ministry and message to your community and to the world. We'll even feed you. 

You'll learn some basics on: 
  • Understanding and marketing to your target community's needs and interests; 
  • Building and launching a good church marketing plan with goals, strategies and action steps; 
  • How to develop, use and protect your church's brand; and more.  
Please  register for free on our website today, so we can get an accurate count. Attendance may be limited to under 30, due to space considerations. 

Also, you can learn much of what Craig will teach and more in  UMCom's helpful online course "Church Marketing: How to Effectively Reach Your Community." The cost is only $29.99. Register for it at anytime.
State of the Church Report 2017
The annual State of the Church Report is a resource to help evaluate our current realities, to celebrate the momentum of our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and to identify opportunities and challenges as we move forward in ministry. The report is brought to you by the Connectional Table in collaboration with the Council of Bishops and the General Council on Finance and Administration.  The State of the Church 2017.
School of Congregational Development offers scholarships

The annual School of Congregational Development (SCD) is "a premier event for equipping United Methodist church leaders, clergy and laity, to lead vital, dynamic, life-changing congregations." Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries, Global Ministries, and Path 1, this year's event, August 17-20 , will happen at Peachtree UMC in Atlanta, Ga. , and be hosted by the North Georgia Conference, Candler School of Theology and Gammon Seminary. The 2017 theme is "At the Lord's Table."  DOWNLOAD the SCD "Quick Look" brochure  [PDF]

Of the three types of scholarships available to participants of SCD 2017, two are relevant to Eastern PA Conference church leaders.  Applicants can only apply for one of these two choices.
  • Racial Ethic Scholarships from Global Ministries 
  • Small-Church Scholarships from Global Ministries for churches with under 150 in average worship attendance.
Click Here for Scholarship Application.  To Register for the Full School go to  REGISTER.
Registration open for Leadership Institute
Registration is open for Leadership Institute  2017 on  Sept. 27-29 at  The UM Church of  the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Speakers include  the Revs. Olu Brown and Adam Weber, founding pastors of two of  the fastest-growing United Methodist  churches  in  the United  States. Through  July 13the super early bird rate is $35 for  the pre-institute and $149 for  the Leadership Institute.  Learn more 
Learn to share your church with the world with online courses
UM Communications offers several online training opportunities to help your congregation more effectively share its story outside the church and welcome its community inside. Registration for these two current online courses ends June 11.
  • Communicating Faith in the 21st Century is designed to teach you how to engage with your church and community digitally. You'll learn how to craft powerful, personal faith stories that resonate with your followers and beyond. Cost: $29.99
  • Welcoming Ministry 100 will help you become a more hospitable congregation. Learn how to encourage members to participate in visitor ministry. Cost: $29.99
United Methodist Prayer for Families
May is Christian Home Month in the United Methodist calendar. A new reflective, photographic v ideo and prayer at together remind us to pray for those closest to us and those whom we do not know but are still called to love. UM Communications invites you to view this video meditation, share the link with others and download the video for use in worship, Sunday school or other settings. View also on UMCom's YouTube channel: United Methodist Prayer for Families .
Cross-Racial, Cross-Cultural Appointment Workshop, June 3 
This annual workshop, facilitated by representatives of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is for clergy and laity in churches that are engaged in cross-racial, cross-cultural ministry . It will take place June 3, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Valley Forge: St. Matthew's UMC. Lunch will be Provided.

Who should attend? Leaders of every church are invited. But clergy and laity who currently serve or will soon serve together in cross-racial, cross-cultural appointments are strongly encouraged to attend.  Register today (at:

For resources related to cross racial/cross cultural appoints, visit .  Look for "Filter by Topic" and click on "Cross-racial/Cross-cultural Appointments."
Workshop for Transitioning Pastors, June 10
If you are a pastor changing to a new church appointment, be sure to attend the next Transitioning Pastors workshop on Saturday, June 10, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, at West Lawn UMC, 15 Woodside Avenue, Reading. For information, please contact Felicia Anderson at or 484-762-8248.

Meanwhile, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary has published (and republished) its usual, timely slate of brief articles about pastoral transitions. Check out their helpful newsletter-with several articles written this year and others in 2015-that addresses relevant transition concerns. They include: "Challenges in Pastoral Transitions," "Why First Impressions Really Do Matter," "50 Ways to Improve Pastoral Transitions" and "Learn 50 Ways for Your Congregation to Welcome a New Pastor." 
Review your pension projection at Annual Conference
"Knowledge is power." Take control of your financial future. Sign up now for your chance to meet with Robert Christophel of Wespath for a half-hour at Annual Conference to review your pension projection and begin to make informed decisions about your retirement. Time slots are limited and fill up quickly!  Be sure to choose a time slot between June 15 and June 17.  Register Now
Bob Christophel is a benefits educator who provides financial, retirement and other benefits education for clergy and lay employees. He previously worked in benefits communications and participant education in New York and was a licensed investment representative in a corporate retirement services division, where he focused primarily on participant education for national corporate 401(k) plans.
United Methodist Days at Dorney Park, June 23-25
Eastern Pa members can join members of other, neighboring conferences for fun and fellowship at United Methodist Days at Dorney Park, June 23-25. Pick any day you want and come enjoy a full day of rides and shows, sunshine and snacks, laughter and glorious fun. Purchase your tickets now for only $31.50 on any of three days in June: Friday, Saturday or Sunday, June 23, 24 or 25. $3.00 from each purchased ticket will go to support United Methodist Men's and Young People's ministries.

Get your tickets today at  Click on the ticket that reads: "United Methodist Day Members of Eastern PA, Greater New Jersey, and Peninsula-Delaware and Susquehanna Conferences." Please download and share the colorful flyer to help promote UM Day at Dorney Park. Learn more...
United Methodist Night at the Phillies, July 29
United Methodist Night at the Phillies will be on Saturday, July 29.Come enjoy a thrilling game of baseball. Please join us with family and friends for fun and fellowship at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, July 29, at 7:05 PM, when our Philadelphia Phillies host the Atlanta Braves.  For group tickets contact Jen Leone at or 215-218-5267. " Please download and share the color flyer. Learn more...
Church responds to drug addiction epidemic
What is your church or mission connexion doing to learn about and address the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic that is damaging many lives, families and communities? Please tell us so we can report on your efforts. Quakertown UMC will host Unite Quakertown on June 10, 11 AM to 8 PM, (rain date: July 8) an interfaith public event to foster awareness and action in response to the "growing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic plaguing our communities." The Quakertown gathering will happen at the city's new Park at 4th and will offer worship, music with Christian bands, storytelling, education and efforts to combat this deadly epidemic through an interfaith alliance. For more information contact Patrick McGovern, event coordinator, at or 267-373-8834. Download and share the flyer.
Peace with Justice Sunday, June 11
Peace with Justice Sunday   is coming June 11. This Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church signifies and makes possible ongoing ministries of peace and reconciliation in our conference and beyond. UM Communications offers a helpful toolkit with all you need to lead your congregation to promote peace and justice. Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now! . One-half of the special offering received churchwide supports exemplary ministries in the U.S. and around the world through grants administered by the General Board of Church and Society. The remainder is used to support ministries in our conference.

The Rev. Jessica Ross, our conference's new Peace with Justice Coordinator, welcomes applications for conference Peace with Justice Grants, administered by the conference Church and Society Work Team in accordance with the United Methodist Social Principles. Learn more about the grants and submit an application if your project is eligible to  
Register now for upcoming Sexual Ethics Workshops:
Basic (Level 1) Sexual Ethics Workshop : July 15, 9 AM to 3:30 PM, at Conshohocken UMC. Level 1 training is mandatory for all persons seeking certification as candidates in ministry, candidates for ministerial roles and for all other individuals beginning ministerial roles within the Eastern PA Conference.  Training is available through the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, Lancaster Theological Seminary and Evangelical Seminary. Learn more.
Advanced Sexual Ethics- "Click, Connect, and Love: The Impact of Social Media on Clergy, Congregations and Families": July 29, 9:30 AM to 3 PM, at New Life UMC, Drexel Hill.
Advanced Sexual Ethics- "Sexual Boundaries" Oct 3, 9.30 AM to 3 PM, at St. Luke's UMC Bryn Mawr. 
Now get e-mail notices to follow the Bishop's Blog
Do you enjoy reading Bishop Peggy Johnson's Bishop's Blog? Want to read her timely, thought-provoking, heart-touching essays as soon as they're published? Well, now you can. Right under her "About Me" brief profile in the right column, you'll find the words "Follow By Email." Just fill in your e-mail address, select "Submit," and you should receive an e-mailed notice whenever there's a new essay to read. Enjoy it right away and even respond to if you'd like. And beneath that field you'll find the Blog Archive, where you can find past essays to read again or for the first time. 
Wanted: 'Chaplains for a Day' at four summer camp sites
Calling all pastors who would love to spend a day at camp, but can't spend a full week.  The Camp & Retreat Ministries Board wants to try a new program this summer that invites you and your family to spend a full day,  on Monday through   Thursday, at one of our four camps between  June 25 and August 12.

Pastors could arrive any time after  8 AM and be treated to three great meals of camp food, complete with a sumptuous salad bar. You could lead a staff Bible study or devotions, meet with staff and volunteers or with campers who need spiritual counsel or support, participate in any camp activities going on that day at your discretion, and then return home to sleep in your own comfortable bed. Your children could choose to participate in one of the camp experiences and your spouse could accompany you for the day or just "do their own thing." 

If you're interested, visit our Camp & Retreat Ministry webpage  to contact the camp site you'd prefer, arrange for the best date and finalize the details. 

By the way, Summer Camp registrations are going on now, and staff are visiting local churches to promote and sign up children and youth for this life-changing experience. Check our our new YouTube video featuring two excited camp staff members telling how camp changed their lives and can change yours too:  "Two Testimonies: Summer Camp transforms lives!"
Young adult summer mission adventure returns to Reading
The   Rev. Nick Camacho at West Lawn UMC shares this news about a great-looking young adult outreach ministry returning to Reading, PA, this summer from June 7 to July 31. The QuadW Missional Internship is paid 8-week summer internship with all housing and living expenses taken care of, There are sites all over the country including in Reading. The program's goal is for college-level young people to relationally serve others, build bridges and be transformed, while serving communities in need. West Lawn's Alex Bryan participated in the program in 2015 described it as "an incredible, enriching, and fulfilling experience." Learn more about it in an August 2015 Reading Eagle article, Berks County welcomes QuadW Missional Program interns.

"I am looking for candidates who have solid convictions," writes Nick, "who love to work with children and homeless persons, want to learn and grow as Christian leaders, and want to have a wonderful urban missionary experience." Those who choose Reading will find it a "wonderful, multicultural, poor city that needs a lot of our love!" Interns will lodge in the city in a home provided by Freedom Gate Ministries, a Christian halfway house for men coming out of prison. They will work primarily with children and homeless adults, while forming relationships with each other and those they serve and learning "a lot about our Lord as we together work on our relationship with Him and watch Him at work here in Reading." 

Read the brochure, visit the website and consider applying for this personal growth opportunity.

Changing Racism: Continuing the Conversation   

The Conference Commission on Religious & Race will offer a second opportunity for leaders who have taken the required Changing Racism course to share and extend their learning, as they continue the conversation on race and racism. The optional, informal gathering will happen on Saturday, Jun e 24, from 9 AM to 3 PM, at Grove UMC, 490 West Boot Road, West Chester PA.

Come, d elve more deeply into the history, dynamics and ramifications of racism in the USA. Learn and practice behaviors and strategies for dismantling the damaging effects of racism and seeking equity. Registration is online by June 12, with a fee of $15. Lunch is provided. NOTE: This workshop is open to all who have completed the Changing Racism Workshops or the Healing the Wounds of Racism Workshops at any time. For more information contact the Rev. Susan Worrell at or the Rev. Alicia Julia-Stanley at .     
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing Thanks!
2017 Academy for Laity
Aug. 4-6 (Fri.-Sun.) at Cedarville UMC Pottstown. New dates, new location, new courses. Theme: Embrace the Journey: Step Up, Step Out." More details to come.
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
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